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As part of a "book club" that is run by myself an a few of my work colleagues, I find that I am "borrowing" a selection of books, that I would otherwise probably never get to read, like the one I will now review for you.
The book in question is - "A handful of silver by Meg Hutchinson".
The story starts with a conversation between a father and son, concerning the flailing family business, with the business centring around steel.
The money is getting dangerously low, and the father (a hard faced and hard hearted man) has struck an agreement with a fellow business man, and (as he thinks anyway!) a man of much fortune.
The deal is that Ezra's only born son will marry Jos Kerrals only daughter, though this is not the only condition, the fact is Jos's daughter has been crippled since birth, and as Jos blames her for his wife's death will not allow her in his house, forcing her to live in a shack in his expansive grounds with her maid Miri, who has brought her up since losing her mother aged 4.
Morgan Ezra's son though is a cruel and selfish man, with more than one secret to hide, should Ezra trust him to help save his business?
I haven't really been able to do justice to the book with this synopsis, as there are so many different characters to consider and many different scenes too.
Esther is the main character and the so-called "cripple", in the year this set (which I would estimate being around 1800's), this gives her a real disadvantage that a young girl who was loved by her father would have, but one whose father is cruel and unforgiving this means that she is likely to stay a spinster all her life.
She is however lucky to have a substitute mother in her maid/carer Miri, she is cared for and loved unconditionally by her and the same by Miri's late husband John, who not only helped raise her, but taught her the way of the man's world, ie business, so she is quite a wealthy woman in her own right, though this is unknown to everyone other than Miri.
Morgan (her future husband) is a horrible character, one who I actually hated when I read his parts. He is selfish, self centred and sponges off his fathers estate, hence the reason Ezra's business is now in dire straights, but Morgan still doesn't see why he should lower himself to marry a cripple, however wealthy her father is supposed to be.
He has no problem parading his mistress Roberta at any and all meetings between the two families, and you know instantly she is a nasty piece of work, a gold digger disguised as a lady, though you soon realise she has many secrets of her own, one that is of the worst kind!
There are many different layers to this book, there being the unloved main character Esther, who I did feel desperately sorry for, she knows she many never be loved in return, but does as she is told to try and bring revenge on her unloving and violent father, this doesn't stop her distress and desperation for love leaping of the page at you, and even with her business no how, you still feel her emptiness.
The book is told from the third party perspective, and at times does feel more industrial lead than by the characters, though once past this part the story is enjoyable to read, with the last few chapters really being quite surprising and fast moving.
Price wise you would be able to get a copy of this for around the £1.50 mark (www.amazon.co.uk), though I would probably recommend borrowing this from the library, as though I enjoyed the book am very doubtful I will read it again.
Thanks for reading x